Cherry Blossoms

I had lived in the Washington DC area for over twenty years and never experienced the most quintessential DC tourist attraction – Cherry Blossoms.

We went on a weekday during spring break to avoid the huge crowds.  March was unusually warm and the blossoms were near peak. 

We took the Metro from Reston to avoid traffic and parking. It was our first time taking the metro as family. I have to say driving, even with the traffic, is still easier, and cheaper, when you have 6 people.

Complaints were rampant as we had to do a lot of walking and standing in big crowds. But we can at least check Cherry Blossoms off the bucket list.

The most memorable part was probably right after taking this picture, when a tourist lost her phone in the water leaning over the railing trying to get a good angle for a picture.

Zoo In The Winter

It was unbelievably warm on December 27, so we took a trip drive to the National Zoo.  It was crowded and smelly, but we got to see the panda moving instead of sleeping for a change.  And I was able to log 18,000 steps in shorts in December!


Hit The Brakes

Thing 4 learned to ride a bike just a few weeks after turning five.  She was a quick learner and was off and riding in no time. There was one, very important part that we didn’t cover.

Hit the brakes! Hit the breaks!

I don’t know what that is!

Working From Home Today (Not)

Today is a level 2 snow day. Level 1 is when the public elementary school is closed and Things 1-3 are home from school. A level 2 snow day is when preschool is also closed and Thing 4 is home with her brothers.

We have had eleven level 1 snow days so far this year but only a few level 2’s.   When there is a snow day, I send an email to work that I am “WFH today” which means I’ll be working from home. I can generally attend meetings by phone, answer emails, and maybe get some actual work done.

But that is for a level 1 snow day. With a level 1 there are several long stretches of opportunity while the kids are in the basement and getting along.  There are some interruptions to make everyone lunch, breaking up a few fights, and enforcing some structure like reading or cleaning up time, but otherwise manageable.

Level 2 is a different story. Even though I’m officially WFH, the W part is done in quick 5 minute bursts amidst constant interruptions and a noise distraction level as if I were working in the middle of kids birthday party after the cake was served.

At some point they will want to go outside in the snow, which is a reasonably quiet stretch I look forward to. But it comes at a price. That price is the aftermath of snow boots and soaking wet gloves and jackets tracked all over the house, and the inevitable fighting and crying when they eventually come in because someone got hit by a snowball or had snow dumped down their back and now they are tired and want food and hot chocolate right now.  

All of that usually happens precisely when I start a conference call. So, yes, even though I am officially “working” from home today, I do not expect to get anything done.

Hershey Park

We took an overnight trip to Hershey Park this summer. There are plenty of rides, roller coasters, and a water park which means non-stop walking. I set the record for number of steps in 2 days on my pedometer.

One of the first rides we went on was the Super Duper Looper, a roller coaster that even Thing 4 was tall enough to ride. As the name suggests, but apparently nobody realized except me, looper means it goes upside down. I pretty much ensured that Thing 4 will never ride another roller coaster.

There isn’t enough chocolate syrup for Thing 3.


We went on a fun tour of the chocolate factory and made our own bars.


It turns out Thing 3 is the thrill seeker in the bunch.  I rode several roller coasters with him.  Even the ones where he was barely tall enough.  We waited in line for 30 minutes for this one, the Wildcat, which had an 80 foot vertical drop.  After waiting that long and getting to the front of the line, there was a long delay while the poor girl in the blue shirt cleaned out the car where the previous rider had gotten sick.  The wait was too much for Thing 3, who really really really needed to go to the bathroom.  So we climbed down without actually riding so he could use the bathroom.  I wasn’t sad to miss the 80 ft drop.


Waiting for the 4D movie is lots of fun…unless you are Thing 3.


Getting ready to enter the park in the morning.  Price of admission: sitting on the bench with your brothers and sister to get a picture.